As a creative freelancer it is critical that you know how you’re spending your time even if time tracking may not be at the top of your daily agenda. Why is it critical you may ask? Not only do your clients expect you to bill them for the exact time you work for them, but it is also important for you to know how you spend your precious time every day. Even if you do not charge an hourly rate, knowing how much time you’re spending on each piece of work allows you to understand how profitable each project is, how efficient you are, and how to maximise your profit – and time away from work. Time is money, and just like we want to know where our money is going, we need to know where our time is being invested. Still not convinced? Here are the top 5 reasons why you should be tracking your time.
Time tracking helps you focus on the important rather than the urgent
Everything that needs to get done today is not always what will get you where you want to be in say 6 months or 6 years. If you are out of clean clothes, by all means, spend time doing laundry. But if you find yourself day after day doing a lot of tasks that seem critical today, you may very well come up for air in a few weeks (or months or years) and wonder, ‘where did all the time go?’ Time tracking gives you the gift of awareness.
It helps build trust
If you can show your client exactly how much time you spent on research, design, planning, writing, managing, etc. They will feel confident that you are an organised, honest and reliable professional, and trust is the basis of all relationships. By being transparent with how you use your time, you can build open and trusting relationships with clients, vendors and colleagues.
It allows you to prioritise and delegate work based on accurate information.
Getting new work, staring at the wall waiting for inspiration, meeting deadlines for current work, waiting for the kettle to boil…not all of these activities were created equal. Maybe you really enjoy waiting for the kettle to boil but could use some help with business development and thus hand off “getting new work” to somebody else. Once you start tracking your time and have a clear record of what you are doing with each and every day, you will feel empowered to decide how to best prioritise and delegate. Time is not found, it’s made.
It’s critical for billing purposes
On a very basic level, if you are a freelancer, the only way you’ll get money into your bank account is by billing clients. Most clients expect to know exactly how much work you’ve done for them before they’re ready to pay you. With a precise time tracking system, billing is a breeze. No more guessing how much time you spent on each piece of work, tracking your time provides accuracy in your invoicing.
Time tracking can actually put money in your pocket
Time tracking can be a great tool to find tax breaks. Seriously, if you are spending any time at all on work that qualifies for a Research and Development (R&D tax break), tracking this time will allow you to put money back in your pocket at the end of the financial year. The taxman is one accurate guy, and by having records of your R&D work you can keep more money this financial year.
If the idea of tracking your time sounds like yet another burden to be added on your to do list, fear not! WiseTime is the solution for those of us who want to know where the time went, without having to track our time. WiseTime operates behind the scenes in your computer, tracking on which files, activities or websites you are spending your time. WiseTime generates reports seamlessly to let you know exactly where the time went. Time tracking programs are great when used properly, but many require you to remember to start and stop the time capturing… and that’s easy to forget. WiseTime is always running in the background, seamlessly, accurately and consistently creating automatic entries of everything you’re doing without any effort on your part. Furthermore, WiseTime is 100% private, which means it is up to you, which activities you want to share with a client, the tax man or a colleague.
Try it out for free and see how time tracking can change your life. Visit wisetime.io.